10/22/2021  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and collaborators, including Purdue Department of Anthropology graduate students Melissa Torquato and Trevor Keevil, co-authored a commentary on the importance of transparency for machine and deep learning applications in archaeology. Their manuscript, along with all data and statistical analyses (including machine and deep learning), are available for replication using R Markdown on GitHub In addition, the GitHub repository includes access to freely available .pdf and html preprint. The paper titled “Machine learning, bootstrapping, null models, and why we are still not 100% sure which bone surface modifications were made by crocodiles” is currently in press with the Journal of Human Evolution 

9/22/2021  What is the “savanna landscape effect”? Based on a review of the environmental pressures of savannas on chimpanzees, such as water scarcity, the team of Dr. Stacy Lindshield et al. found evidence that a “savanna landscape effect” shifts the behavior of chimpanzees in hot and dry landscapes.  Read the full article here.

9/15/2021    Congratulations to Dr. Ian Lindsay and co-PIs in Computer Science and Research Computing for being awarded a National Science Foundation grant! Using advanced drone imaging technology, the project will build an artificial intelligence-based framework for modeling complex urban constructions from remote sensing and field observations. The research team is part of Purdue’s interdisciplinary ROSETTA initiative housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

9/8/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Nyssa on being awarded an NSF for the project "Explaining Differential Success in Biodiversity Knowledge Commons"! The project will systematically investigate biodiversity data portals built from a common platform in order to understand portal communities and outcomes.

7/7/2021 Gender Equality in the Arctic is an international collaborative project highlighting the importance of recognition and appreciation of diversity in terms of discourses, gender, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, governance, education, economies, social realities, sustainability, and balanced participation in leadership and decision making, both in the public and private sectors. The Phase III Arctic Gender Equality Report includes the chapter, "Empowerment and Fate Control," for which Dr. Laura Zanotti is a contributing author, along with Co-PIs Courtney Carothers and Charlene Apok.

On May 20, 2021, the Arctic Gender Equality Report was acknowledged and included in the Reykjavík Declaration 2021 that emphasized "the importance of gender equality and respect for diversity for sustainable development in the Arctic...and called for further action to advance gender equality in the Arctic." Gender was also included in the new Strategic plan of the Arctic Council, marking an important milestone as equality is considered a prerequisite of sustainable development in a future Arctic.

6/25/2021  In this video for the series curated by Dr. Girish Daswani (Anthropology, University of Toronto), Purdue Anthropology faculty Dr. Dada Docot speaks about the carceral and inherited colonial logics surrounding government and public responses to the #CommunityPantryPH mutual aid movement in the Philippines. 

5/19/2021  Rachel Small (Majoring in Anthropology and Communication, Minoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies) was awarded first place prize at the Purdue Undergrad Research Conference in the category of Archival Presentations for her research talk, "White Feminist Icons: An Intersectional Case Study on Amelia Earhart"!

5/14/2021  Anthropology major Sarah Coon was nominated for the Beinecke Scholarship! The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 and seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Congratulations, Sarah!

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Riall Nolan, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes and honors long-term and exceptional service to the Society. You can read more about Dr. Nolan’s work here.

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Evelyn Blackwood, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Association of Queer Anthropology (AQA) Distinguished Achievement Award for the years 2020 and 2021. The Distinguished Achievement Award honors outstanding contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer anthropology through scholarship, research, teaching, mentoring, service, public engagement, and/or activism. You can read more here.

5/3/2021  Brandi Wren, a research affiliate for the department of anthropology was studying social distancing and infections before social distancing became the new normal. Social grooming in the animal kingdom is common and serves several functions, from removing ectoparasites to maintaining social bonds between conspecifics. We examined whether time spent grooming with others in a highly social mammal species was associated with infection status for gastrointestinal parasites. Read more here.

4/15/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Johnson, who has been selected as a recipient of the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2020-21! This award is one of the top teaching awards in our College. Winners are nominated by departments and chosen by the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. We are so pleased that Dr. Johnson's talents and contributions to students are recognized, especially the positive and important impact of her teaching during these very difficult times. Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

4/6/2021  Jenail Marshall has been selected by the African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue as a 2021 Remmers Award winner! The award was established in memory of Dr. H. H. Remmers, Head of the Division of Educational Reference and member of the Psychology Department and recognizes academic excellence and scholarly promise among social science and interdisciplinary studies graduate students. Congratulations, Jenail!

3/25/2021   Dr. Andrew Flachs has been selected as a College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher for 2020-2021!  The award is chosen from among nominations submitted by departments to the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

3/9/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Remis, who has received the Violet Haas Award by the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence! The Violet Haas Award recognizes individuals, programs, or departments at Purdue that have effectively facilitated the advancement of women in hiring, promotion, education, and salary, or have generally enhanced a positive professional climate for women at Purdue.

3/7/2021  The Sudanese American Medical Association sponsored an international webinar this month in which Professor Emerita Ellen Gruenbaum gave a talk, “Achieving Abandonment: Law and the process of change in Sudan and other countries” in a session with two Sudanese colleagues on the theme of “No Time for Global Inaction:  Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”

2/12/2021  Congratulations to grad student Jose Becerra whose project, "Trade-off’s Between the Logistics Economy and Community Health: Disproportionate Exposure to Air Pollution Among Marginalized Communities in the Inland Empire" has been selected for the 2021 Halperin Memorial Fund Award!

1/25/2021 Online science magazine Flip Science featured the case of rapid cremations in the Philippines during COVID-19 and its links with colonial sanitation regimes, drawing from interviews with Purdue cultural anthropologist Dada Docot and forensic anthropologist Matthew C. Go, following up on their recent editorial that appeared on Forensic Science International: Synergy.<

1/9/2021  In "Fire and fear: Rapid cremations in the Philippines amidst COVID-19" just released in Forensic Science International: Synergy, Dr. Dada Docot with co-author Dr. Matthew Go consider how recent regulations in the Philippines requiring expeditious cremations for COVID-19 victims is disruptive where burning the dead is largely taboo. Using forensic science and cultural anthropology, they consider culturally appropriate possibilities for honoring the dead.

1/7/2021  Grad student Kari A. Guilbault, who is studying bioarchaeology, has a photo collection, Sticks and Stones, in Unearthed, an online literary journal from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Guilbault uses photography to capture the interconnectedness between nature and humans

1/4/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for winning National Science Foundation support for the project, “CNH2-L: Using Sound to Advance Conceptual Frameworks of Resilience of Integrated Grassland-Pastoralist Systems” where she serves as co-PI!  

1/4/2021  Dr. Jennifer Johnson has been selected to participate in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership program! Read more here.

11/20/20  Andrew Flachs has just been awarded a Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response grant from the Social Science Research Council for his project, "Technological Transitions in the US Local Food System in Response to Covid-19"! This project explores the digital infrastructures of risk, food access, and growing power built as the local food system transitions to online supply chains during the pandemic. See more here. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

11/2/2020  Congratulations to Samuel Bakeis on being awarded a Purdue Student Service-Learning Grant Program for Community Service/Service Learning for the project, "Archival Activities with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association"! During the 1970s and '80s frequent excavations were conducted at Fort Ouiatenon, and photo slides, site maps, and notes stored at the TCHA. Samuel's project will consist of replacing deteriorating slide sleeves, organizing physical artifacts in an improved manner, and digitalizing a large sum of this information so that future research can be done. Congratulations, Samuel!  Samuel Bakeis

10/28/2020  We are proud to announce that Jennifer Lee Johnson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country—from every profession and field—to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities

Specifically, Dr. Johnson was selected for Interdisciplinary Research Leaders. Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders supports teams for three years as they work with their communities to design and conduct rigorous research to explore critical issues, then apply the findings in real-time to advance health and equity.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Dr. Johnson will focus on environmental contamination and community health in Martinsville, Indiana. While this community is exceptional in many ways, it is increasingly reflective of broader regional trends, especially with respect to pervasive exposures to toxic chemicals and rising rates of cancer and poverty. By engaging multiple methodological approaches and a range of community members, the overall goal of Johnson’s project is to improve how information on exposure risk is produced, consumed and put to use to motivate meaningful improvements in health outcomes and health equity in Martinsville and beyond.

To learn more about Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit

10/26/2020  Dr. Kali Rubaii was recently interviewed for Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (on KPFA Radio) about her recently published article on the toxic legacy of war in Iraq. You can listen to the entire interview here.

10/23/2020  In a recent article in Frontiers in Political Science, Professor Emeritus Richard Blanton et al consider commonalities in the collapse of the Roman Empire, China's Ming Dynasty, India's Mughal Empire, and the Venetian Republic using Collective Action Theory. These governments "illustrate a moral bond between citizen and leadership that is inherent where there is joint production. Moral failure of the leadership in this social setting brings calamity because the state's lifeblood—its citizen-produced resource-base—is threatened when there is loss of confidence in the state, which brings in its wake social division, strife, flight, and a reduced motivation to comply with tax obligations." The authors were recently interviewed in Phys.Org.

10/21/2020  Recently Dr. Melissa Remis and Dr. Carolyn Jost Robinson (Ph.D. 2012) published an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about their research emphasizing the importance of thinking about the ways in which our lives are bound up with the other species around us, how large mammals have and continue to shape our environment and the need to collaborate with local communities for planning effective conservation policies that take into account local knowledge and lifeways. Click here to read more about their research.

10/16/2020  Dr. Risa Cromer recently published ‘Which Lives Matter? Pro-Life Politics during a Pandemic’ in Medical Anthropology Quarterly’s Critical Issues series focused on the upcoming election. The essay examines what pro-life has come to mean during a pandemic by tracing the racist violence of its rhetoric in American politics.

10/13/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs is featured in CHE- Center for Culture, History, and Environment. Farmers Living and Dying by Cotton Seeds in India is an excerpt from Dr. Flach's book Cultivating Knowledge, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with farmers growing genetically modified and organic cotton in Telangana, India.

9/30/2020  In "'Our family picture is a little hint of heaven': race, religion and selective reproduction in US 'embryo adoption'", Dr. Risa Cromer makes a case for how race and religion intersect to shape how white evangelical users of assisted and selective reproduction technologies use them. The article is published in the November 2020 issue of Reproductive Medicine and Society Online, a special issue resulting from a two-year workshop led by Rayna Rapp and Séverine Mathieu. 

9/3/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Stacy Lindshield and the team on their NSF grant for the project, "Collaborative Research: The Ecological Basis of Hunting and Meat Sharing in Female Savanna Chimpanzees"!

Description and team members:  Sexual selection theory and patterns of male-biased hunting and meat-eating for chimpanzees, some of our closest living relatives, have been traditionally integrated with models of human behavioral evolution. However, tool use and female-biased hunting are characteristics of savanna chimpanzees in Senegal. Hunting with tools may enable these females to routinely ingest and share meat on a seasonal basis without the need for being provisioned by males. This project precisely captures the effect of hunting with tools on diet and compares the weight of these findings to the causes and consequences of male-biased trends that characterize most chimpanzee groups studied today. This interdisciplinary study is a part of the HUNTRESS project on HUnting, Nutrition, Tool-use, Reproductive Ecology, and meat Sharing in Savanna chimpanzees to holistically assess female-biased hunting.

The HUNTRESS team combines behavioral, isotopic, nutritional, genetic, visual analytic, and geographic approaches to compare hunting and meat ingestion between females and males, and in relation to climate and food availability. This project increases capacity for chimpanzee research in Senegal by fully engaging with and supporting local partners and students. Furthermore, it is part of a long-term program that supports habitat preservation in Senegal for the critically-endangered western chimpanzee.

Members of this team also include Papa Ibnou Ndiaye (Université Cheikh Anta Diop), Jill Pruetz (Texas State University), Elizabeth Flaherty (Purdue University), Amy Reibman (Purdue University) and Leslie Knapp (University of Utah).

Melissa Remis, photot courtesy of Purdue News ServiceCaroline Jost Robinson, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost

8/31/2020  Elephants, Hunters, and Others: Integrating Biological Anthropology and Multispecies Ethnography in a Conservation Zone, by Melissa Remis and Carolyn A. Jost Robinson (Purdue PhD 2012) is published in the September issue of American Anthropologist.  The article integrates biological, multispecies and sociocultural approaches with a focus on shared ecologies of BaAka elephant hunters, African forest elephants and others along elephant trails in the Congo Basin.  The authors highlight the ways elephants shape forest structure and the fabric of existence for the people that live there.  They explore the consequences of conservation zoning that restricts forest community access to the trails, resources and social networks in order to develop more culturally relevant and collaborative conservation practices.
Above photo left: Melissa Remis, photo provided by Purdue News, Above photo right: Caroline Jost Robinson, photo provided by Caroline. Photo Below: African Forest Elephants. Photo provided by Caroline Jost Robinson.

African Forest Elephants, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost Robinson





8/31/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs tells the global story of Indian cotton including contributions from researchers based in India, the US, and Europe. This interactive Story Map includes archaeological, historical, and ethnographic elements spanning the origins of cotton farming to the impacts of genetically modified crops to the secondhand clothing industry, and accompanies Flachs' new book Cultivating knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India

8/18/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti and Dr. Risa Cromer on their 2020 Enabling Inclusion at Purdue grants! These awards are made to project proposals that further the Butler Center’s goals to foster a climate of inclusion for faculty, particularly for women and underrepresented minorities.

“Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice," Laura Zanotti (principal investigator) with C4E, PCCRC, AAARCC, the Honors College, SIS, and the NAECC as Co-PIs.

“Data Promises and Perils in the Time of COVID: Critical Data Studies Teach-Ins and Syllabus Project for Enabling Inclusion at Purdue," Faithe Day (principal investigator) with Risa and the Critical Data Studies Collective (which I am a member of) are Co-PIs

7/31/2020  In pursuit of creativity, Anthropologists are writing in new genres during COVID. Dr. Kali Rubaii is one of the contributors to American Ethnologist's  "Post-Covid Fantasies", edited by Catherine Besteman, Heath Cabot, and Barak Kalir. 

7/13/2020 As part of AAA's 2020 Webinar series on "Game-Changing Job Search Strategies as an Applied Anthropologist - A Four-Part Webinar Series" , Drs. Sherylyn Briller and Amy Goldmacher, along with Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys LLC) and others participated in "Part 1: Get Hired! Showcase Your Unique Value" on July 9. The information from the webinar should be posted on the AAA website with the Resources and Webinar Recording by midweek, if not sooner.

Purdue graduate students or alumni will be participating in the following:

Part 2: 5 Secrets for Building Networks that Lead to Jobs

Thursday, July 16
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys), Ann Reed (Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield), Elizabeth Wirtz (U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Purdue alumna), Beth Holland (University of North Texas) and Keith Kellersohn (Wicomico Co. Board of Education)

Part 3: This Is Not Your Parents' Resume: New Ways to Tell Your Story

Thursday, July 23
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Dawn Lehman (Pathways21), Ingrid Ramón Parra (Purdue University), William Tyner (National Geographic), and Adam Gamwell (Missing Link Studios)

If you miss any of these sessions, video will soon be available on the AAA website.

 7/6/2020  Dr. Holly Okonkwo has received the 2020-21 American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, for her book project, "Liberatory Code: Black women and the Politics of Computing". In this project, Dr. Okonkwo ethnographically explores the experiences of Black women technologists in the U.S, their techno-social innovations and how they navigate and negotiate complex issues of race, gender, community and marginalization, to cultivate and imagine liberatory futures for themselves. AAUW Fellows are selected on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or fields of research.

6/22/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Valerie Miller and advisor Dr. Amanda Veile on their recent publication, "Assessment of attention in biological mothers using the attention network test - revised"! The publication, co-authored with Lisa A. VanWormer, appears in Current Psychology. This is the first study to investigate the effects of biological motherhood on attention network functioning.

6/3/2020  Congratulations to Kamryn Dehn (College of Liberal Arts, College of Agriculture, and the Honors College, majoring in anthropology and aquatic sciences) on receiving the 2020 Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award!

"Scholarship recipients embody Tyler’s legacy by rising above hardship, turning it into something positive, and continuing to seek their passions. Dehn made a particular impression on [Mitch] Daniels and the selection committee in the way she used her personal challenges to create positive and lasting change in the lives of those around her." read more here.

5/21/2020  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and graduate student Melissa Torquato’s paper published in the Annual Reviews of Anthropology, titled “Bayesian Statistics in Archaeology”, is featured as a Notable Writing in the latest volume of “The Best Writing on Mathematics 2019”. This annual anthology, published by Princeton University Press, brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world.

5/20/20 In a recent publication in Cultural Anthropology Dr. Kali Rubaii explores how people find trust to overcome issues during situations of crisis even when they have no knowledge of one another’s motives in TRUST WITHOUT CONFIDENCE: Moving Medicine with Dirty Hands

5/19/2020  Congratulations to Diana Quintero and Kamryn Dehn for the earning 1st place prize for best poster presentation in the College of Liberal Arts at the virtual Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference. Diana and Kamryn presented on "Male vs. Female Representation in Chimpanzee Behavioral Studies" as part of an ongoing study with Dr. Stacy Lindshield on feminist perspectives in primatology.

5/14/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Holly Okonkwo! She has been awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Liberatory Code: Race, Gender and the Politics of Computing"! Funding from this grant support Dr. Okonkwo in completing her current book manuscript.

5/14/2020  Alumna Franco Lai's (PhD 2014) first book, based on her PhD dissertation, is coming out from @hkupress in December 2020! Maid to Queer is the first book about Asian female migrant workers who develop same-sex relationships in a host city. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong, the book explores the meanings of same-sex relationships to these migrant women. Congrats, Franco! 

5/11/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer on being awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States"! This funding will support Dr. Cromer in completing her current book manuscript. 

5/7/2020  Purdue Alumnus magazine has a feature article including Dr. Michele Buzon and Dr. Laura Zanotti, who share what it takes to do their field research and why it matters! Read more here.

5/7/2020  Graduate student, Gideon Singer is part of a team at Datastory that has created a GIS Map Layer with their partners Spatial A.I. The map shows social sentiment regarding COVID-19 in each county of the US. Gideon's experience researching social media during his Ph.D. gave him the idea to generate word clouds based on social media data. He was then able to use the Python scripting language to automate a word-cloud that took the shape of each respective county as long as there were 50 or more post in the last week.

4/30/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Nyssa and Dr. Risa Cromer on a recent publication! Along with collaborator Jessica Hardin, they have recently published a short essay in the _Journal for the Anthropology of North America’s_ ‘Coming to Terms’ series. In it they grapple with "saving"as a practice common to their respective field sites, our discipline, and the world. While written just before the CoVID pandemic was recognized as a global crisis, the authors are noticing that calls to save are ever louder and more regular. Read on.

4/29/2020  Dr. Melanie Beasley's Forensic Anthropology class is featured in this month's CLA THiNK Magazine! This class provides students with a real-world perspective on death investigation and even provides hands-on skeletal activities to experience what a professional forensic anthropologist might analyze in a lab. #AnthOfTomorrow #ForensicAnthro #anth215forensics

4/23/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Jenail Marshall on being awarded a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! The NSF GRFP provides 3 years of funding towards her project, "Bioarchaeological investigations of human-microbial interaction in East Africa"

4/19/2020 Congratulations to Amanda Waller who has been awarded The Boilers Work internship. Only 10 graduate students at Purdue receive this stipend internship. This program is intended to help students garner real-world work experience, refine soft-skills, and establish career connections prior to graduation. Upon return, program participants are required to facilitate one professional development workshop to share their experiences and insights.

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Elizabeth Kriebel, who has been accepted to a graduate program in Museum and Field Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder! She has been awarded a GA-ship to work at the campus museum while she pursues studies towards her master's. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Sarah Huang on her recent publication! Sarah's chapter, "Food from Home and Food from Here: Disassembling Locality in Local Food Systems with Refugees and Immigrants in Anchorage, Alaska" has been published in the book, The Immigrant-Food Nexus: Borders, Labor, and Identity in North America edited by Julian Agyeman and Sydney Giacalone. A link to the open-access edition is available here

4/14/2020  Emerita Dr. Ellen Gruenbaum just published “Debating Deinfibulation: "Why Some Women Resist the WHO Advice and What Clinicians and Researchers Can Do” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.   The article draws on not only Dr. Gruenbaum's own research but also the important work being done by other scholars in this area of interest, who are trying to shape a more humane and informed responses to FGC and those who are living with its aftermath.

4/9/2020  Congratulations to Liz Hall and Savannah Schulze on being awarded a Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship! Liz will be writing up her project entitled, "Zoonotic Risks at the Human-Primate Interface: Behavior, Nutritional Status, and Immune Function in a Food Insecure Central African Forest Reserve." Savannah will be writing up her project entitled, "Forest People without a forest: Shifting Batwa Identity on the Fringes of Global Conservation Spaces, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda."

4/8/2020  Graduate student Gideon Singer is working as a GIS Specialist with Datastory. Their team worked together to curate and visualize various COVID-19 resources to make available to the public. Storytelling with maps is a major part of Gideon's work with Datastory. Updated everyday, they have created the Case Tracker WebMap that shows the amount of COVID-19 cases per county.

3/25/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer, who has been selected to participate in the Society for Family Planning Wiki Scholars Program cohort this summer from June-August, 2020. The 2020 SFP Wiki Scholars Program is a partnership between the Society of Family Planning and Wiki Education. Wikipedia is one of the most popular sources of information, including information about abortion and contraception. Building the capacity of family planning researchers to ensure this powerful tool connects the public with up-to-date and accurate information is an exciting opportunity. Through this program, the cohort will become fluent in Wikipedia's tools, adding to already-existing articles, and potentially creating new ones.

2/24/2020  A short piece published by Dr. Jennifer Johnson in the edited volume, An Ecotopian Lexicon, was recently mentioned in a stunning review of the collection as a whole in The New Yorker! The contribution introduces the Luganda interjection, gyebale, thank you for the work you do, a term used as a greeting, a goodbye, or simply as an acknowledgment of the ongoing work of others, exchanged between friends, colleagues, and non-familiars alike. For Hua Hsu, author of the New Yorker review, gyebale also "suggest[s] a kind of communal ethos baked into how two strangers might regard each other.” Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

1/29/2020  Assistant professor of anthropology Melanie Beasley was invited to serve as an isotope expert at a forensic workshop hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Africa. Thousands of migrants die each year along perilous routes in Africa and beyond, many without identification. The workshop is a collaborative humanitarian effort to help determine how stable isotope methods can be implemented to help identify migrants who die each year. 

1/6/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Dada Docot on her recent publication, "Taking the Long Route: Ethnographic Metacommentary as Method in the Anthropological Film Practice," Current Anthropology 60, no. 6 (December 2019): 774-795. In this article, Dr. Docot introduces “ethnographic metacommentary,” an experiential, processual, and protracted approach to ethnography, and shows how ethnographic metacommentary is a productive thought process that fleshes out ruptures in the filmmaking process that are often concealed from the audience, and even from the filmmakers.



Congratulations to the following students who received the Department of Anthropology's top honors for academic achievement and service, the O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior. The Award is named in honor of our legendary professor, Dr. O. Michael Watson (1936-2012), whose dynamic undergraduate courses excited decades of anthropology students. Each year, the student selected goes on to be nominated for consideration for the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Student Award.

2021 Kayla Lopez
2020 Elizabeth Kriebel
2019 Isabelle Ortt
2018 Bridget Curry 
2017  Kate Yeater
2016  Jonathan Micon
2015 Michael Lockman
2014 Katelyn Revis
2013 Alisha Yadav
2012 Donald Pattee
2010 Monya Anderson
2009 Marcus Glassman
2008 Sarah Kinder
2007 David Fitzsimmons


Walter Hirsch was a Purdue faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1947 until his retirement in 1989, who specialized in social movements and the sociology of science. His family and friends established this award in his memory in recognition of his long-time interest in and support of graduate students. Each year, the award provides approximately $1,000 to help with the costs of dissertation research for one doctoral candidate in Anthropology and one in Sociology.

2015 Ingrid Ramon Parra
2014 Jonas Ecke
2013 Elizabeth Wirtz
2012 Sarah Schrader
2011 Franco Lai
2010 Katie Smith
2009 Lesley Daspit

Remembering Those That Went Before

O.M Watson  

O. Michael Watson (1936-2012)

Dr. Watson was born in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Colorado.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he studied anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a BA and Ph.D.   In 1967 joined the Purdue University faculty as one of the founders of the Anthropology Department.  Professor Watson’s early research focused on proxemic analysis, which he published in Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study (Mouton, 1970). He subsequently turned to visual anthropology, which led to a number of publications and graduate seminars, as well as his production of the classic film Spirit of Ethnography. Professor Watson was one of the founders of anthropology at Purdue, and he devoted his career to the growth of the discipline and to the department.  A renowned teacher and beloved professor, he won numerous teaching awards during his 40 years at Purdue.  Generations of students took his love of anthropology and enthusiasm for human cultural diversity along with them as they pursued their many directions.  Known for his energy and amazing ability to find humor everywhere, he is remembered for the joy and laughter he brought to so many lives.  When Professor Watson retired in 2007, the Department of Anthropology honored him by naming our annual student award after him. 

Jay O'Brien 

Jay O’Brien (1947-2013)
Jay O’Brien was born in New Jersey, in 1947 and grew up in California.  He came of age influenced by the music, activism, natural beauty, and the social concerns of 1960s California.  After being an exchange student in Sweden when he was 17 and doing a study abroad in Germany, he was inspired to become an anthropologist.  He studied anthropology at Stanford University and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D. 1980).
Professor O’Brien studied the long-term effects of colonial regimes in Africa, and wrote his master’s thesis on Portuguese empire in Africa, 1415-1961. Subsequently, he spent 5 years in Sudan, researching agricultural labor and development, using political economy and ethnography to understand family dynamics, ethnic identification shifts, and development dilemmas in Sudan.  Among his publications were three books—on political economy and development in Sudan, and on the intersection of history and anthropology. 
His career was about social justice and the process of change, analyzing the conditions of poverty, the dilemmas of development, and their impacts on human cultural life.  He became deeply engaged in teaching, achieving tenure at Lawrence University and teaching at a dozen other universities in Sudan, Sweden, Botswana, and the U.S.  He came to Purdue in 2008 with his life partner, Ellen Gruenbaum, to be part of the newly launched independent Department of Anthropology. 




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